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A Message of Hope: Keabetswe’s Story

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As we work in communities we have the honor and privilege to meet and work with some remarkable people. This is Keabetswe's or Keith's story. Keith grew up in Bergnek, Limpopo, South Africa. His story is one of tenacity, persistence and hope. The hope of creating a better tomorrow for himself, his family and his community. Keith is taking action and creating change. This is a letter he wrote to us in December 2011.

An Open Letter from Keabetswe

"My Arms Wide Open has shone a light of hope in my community of Bergnek (Limpopo province, South Africa). I met Warren in February 2010 at a hotel in Johannesburg where I was working at the time. I overheard him speaking with someone about what he was doing in South Africa. I approached him and I asked him to help my community in the northern part of the country. (Bergnek, South Africa). Bergnek is one of the many rural communities in South Africa, that has a lot of youth who are
unemployed and most of its community members are living in poverty.

There are quite a number of child held [led] households and woman only held households. Most of the young girls tend to resort to early pregnancy and parenthood, so they can get government grants and be able to support their family, the more babies you have, the more money you get from the government.

Like many communities in South Africa, Bergnek has its fair share of disadvantages. There is no health care facility; the community waits for a mobile clinic that comes once every Wednesday, and it’s more like a first aid box that does not help with anything. There is high rate of unemployment and poverty. There are no recreational facilities, just to mention a few of the problems.

My Arms Wide Open has since bought and put in a water pump that is now supplying water to all the villagers within the community. At the moment we are trying to establish a community based project that will help employ most, if not all the community members so
they can be able to support their families and give their children a better

The main objective of the community project is to create enough revenue to sustainably fund a health care centre that will help the community of Bergnek and the surrounding communities. 

A lot of families in my community lost their loved ones, only because they cannot get basic
health care.

I lost my two-year-old son in 2006, only because he could not get
help. No parent should lose a child at such an early age. My dream is to
help my community get a health care facility which will help many young
children and old people.

Since My Arms Wide Open came into our lives, there is light at the end of the tunnel. One of the things we did already was to do the Iziko Labahlali program. My experience with the program was an eye opener. It somehow helped me to look at life differently. It was more of motivational and improving self-esteem, challenging oneself to strive on becoming a better individual. I believe that, all those that participated had a different approach to life after attending the program.

One of the exercises we did was The River of Life. The river of my life was a bit painful, because I had to turn back the clock and think, write and paint about the happy moments and painful events that I experienced in my life. That really helped me to deal with the loss and accept the situation as it is, it helped me move on.
I would recommend the program to professional individuals and those who are in the corporate world, it will
enhance their inner ability to work with whatever difficulties they may face in the corporate world. I think the program was designed to help every
individual from all walks of life. I am a different person after the Iziko Labahlali program and it's all thanks to Mr. Warren.

Help us eradicate poverty and suffering in my community.

Kind regards,

(Keith) M

Visit the My Arms Wide Open site to get
involved and support Keith’s community of Bergnek, Limpopo and our work in other communities in Southern Africa.

The My Arms Wide Open® Charitable Foundation, was established
to provide support and collaboration with mothers, children, and youth in South Africa, enabling them to build sustainable communities and responsible businesses. With stronger families, communities emerge as a solid foundation for society.

Manzimvula as a consulting practice and a Certified B Corporation specializes in community engagement, sustainability and corporate responsibility, providing support and resources to My Arms Wide
Open. To stimulate ingenuity and create growth, we work alongside our clients, guiding them through our Purposeful Path to Sustainability Program™ utilizing
our Integrative Strategy Approach™ to help them engage their organizational communities at a deeper level to understand mindset and create alignment with core strategies and principles.

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